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13 - Having established that his ability to know himself is...

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Having established that his ability to know himself is unchallenged by any skeptical threat, Descartes sought to identify the character or mark of his self-knowledge that might apply to other potential items of knowledge. He found that his perception of himself is very clear and very distinct. Then he suggested this rule: that whatever is very clearly and very distinctly perceived is true. This would allow him to reclaim knowledge surrendered in the course of hyperbolic doubt. It should be emphasized that Descartes did not believe clarity and distinctness to be relative qualities of ideas. That is, any person who meets the appropriate conditions will find the same ideas to be clear and distinct. The reason is that he defined clarity as what is "present and apparent to an attentive mind" (Principles of Philosophy, Part I, Principle XVL). He appealed to the metaphor of vision to illustrate this notion: "we see objects clearly when, being present to the regarding eye, they operate on it with sufficient strength." The objects of this mental vision are there to be "seen" by anyone taking appropriate care. In
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